Monday to Tuesday 7am - 12am Wednesday to Friday 7am - 1am Saturday 8am - 1am Sunday 8am - 12am. In Hanoi, about 1 week ago, trandinh36 reviewed Pico Plaza: "It. Doom is a two- level dungeon. How The Steel Bite Pro works? Our objective is to create a different gaming experience for our users using pre-hacks. Free shipping on orders $35+ & free returns plus same-day in-store pickup.
I spent 3 months and 2 weeks traveling through Southeast Asia (Thailand
, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia) and I'm writing this for those who are thinking about visiting. I'll cover as much as possible.
AMA if you want more info!!!!
I booked a flight with All Nippon Airways (ANA) for $530 round-trip four months before departing. I flew out of Los Angeles (LAX) to Bangkok (BKK). Trip started September 11th and ended December 23rd. (*note: it was Los Angeles to Tokyo (Haneda) → Tokyo (Haneda) to Bangkok)
I did not pre-book anything. I only booked my accommodation before arriving in Bangkok. You can book accommodations as you go. I used hostelworld and booking.com
. I didn't pre-book activities, flights, bus, and such. This can all be done a couple of days ahead of time or literally the day of.
Get a Charles Schwab debit card if possible to avoid foreign transaction fees. I used this throughout my whole trip and I saved a lot on transaction fees. Please use an ATM over the currency exchange booths; they tend to rip you off.
I used InsureMyTrip.com
to buy an insurance plan. Please buy something that has emergency evacuation. You don’t want to get malaria or dengue fever and not have that option. Fortunately, I didn't need to use it.
I took 2 photocopies of my passport. I took 3 passport size photos for visas. Please bring exact change when paying for visas to avoid getting ripped off. They all take US dollars.
Visa information for US Citizens only:
- Thailand → free visa on arrival, 30 days. No passport photo required.
- Laos → $35 visa on arrival, 30 days, 1 passport photo
- Vietnam → $15 visa approval letter (vietnamvisapro.com), $25 visa, 3 months-single entry, 1passport photo
- Singapore → free visa on arrival
- Cambodia → $30 visa on arrival, 30 days, 1 passport photo
Recommend by CDC I got a typhoid, Hepatitis A and B, and influenza shot before leaving. Do this a MONTH BEFORE leaving! The vaccines need time to go into your system. If you don't, it's fine; just get them ASAP. I got my shots at Walgreens. I brought some imodium with me. You can buy medicine for cheap in Asia so I wouldn’t worry about bringing anything. I didn’t bring any anti-malaria pills either. Condoms are cheap and plentiful too.
Again, I took my Charles Schwab debit card and a backup Chase credit card/Chase debit card. Southeast Asia is cash-heavy (except for Singapore). My budget for the trip was $3500 with flights included. I went over budget by $1000 because I bought a motorcycle in Vietnam and I did other excursions around SE asia.
You can easily do Southeast Asia for way less than I did. Hostels were around $2 - $7 USD.
Food prices were different everywhere I went. But I never paid more than $2-3 per meal. Beers were cheap; about $1 or a little more. Vietnam has the cheapest food but it’s cheap everywhere in southeast asia. If you really want to save money, don’t buy alcohol.
A solid budget would be $25 - $30 per day. It would be enough to do excursions and cover all expenses. Some cities are way cheaper on your budget for example, some cities in Vietnam I only spent like $10-15 per day. But I think you can do it comfortably for $20 a day.
Download Grab app. I mainly used a GrabBike to get around. You can hire a car too, but it's much more expensive than ordering a motorbike to take you around. I avoided using taxis at all costs. They tend to rip you off if you are a tourist. If you must hop on a taxi, agree on a set price before hopping on. Some a-holes would turn on the meter and not say anything until you hop off and charge you more.
Public buses are the cheapest option. They cost less than $0.50 USD per ride. I mainly used GrabBike and walked.
From city to city, I used day/night buses. Buses cost around $5 - $15 or more, but it all depends how far you’re traveling. I usually booked through my hostel but sometimes you can get them way cheaper by asking around at travel agencies. Sometimes I booked night buses/trains to save a night on accommodation.
Depending how far the distance is, I also did flights. Flights are cheap; $25-$50 thru AirAsia, Nok Air, Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, etc. (I’ll go into more detail in the itinerary section of this report). Some flights I paid a lot more because I booked them last minute.
I also used 12go.asia
to book trains and buses.
I took my iPhone X (unlocked) and connected a line in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. I took an old iPhone 6 with me for backup. If you gonna take a laptop or kindle, etc., wi-fi is available in most hostels. I didn't bring that with me cause it weighs me down a lot. It’s safe to take expensive phones with you. But please take care of your stuff. I didn’t really hear about anyone getting their phones stolen.
In Thailand, connect with AIS. They have super cheap plans with unlimited data for $5 a month. But please activate your phone at an official AIS store at a shopping center so you can get this deal. Bring your passport or a copy. If they try to sell you a “tourist sim card,” walk away. They rip you off.
In Vietnam, I activated my phone at Hanoi Airport when I arrived. It was like $10 a month for unlimited data. I went with Viettel. Bring a passport or copy to activate it.
In Cambodia, I activated my phone at Phnom Penh Airport when I arrived. I paid $10 for 15gb of data with Metfone. Bring a passport or copy to activate it.
Apps that I used:
- Google Maps: you can download offline maps.
- Facebook Messenger
- Netflix (watch The Vietnam War docu-series by Ken Burns if you’re going to ‘Nam)
- Grab: similar to Uber
- Currency Converter
- Google Translate: you can download offline
I used an old Adidas Aries Backpack I had from my last trip. This is 30 liters, maybe 35 liters at best. I bought it cheap for $40. It got the job done.
- 2 soccer jerseys
- 1 long-sleeve soccer jersey
- 1 Lakers jersey (the best thing to wear)
- 1 pair of joggers (threw them out after a month)
- 2 pairs of shorts (basketball and board short)
- 6 pairs of Nike Dri-Fit boxers (lost 1)
- 3 pairs of low-cut socks (lost all of them by the last day haha)
- 1 pair of knee high socks (lost them)
- 1 micro-fiber towel (forgot it at a hostel haha)
- 1 waterproof light jacket
- 1 pair of Nike Free Run Flyknit shoes
- 1 pair of Nike shower sandals
- 1 Zomake day pack
- 1 Hershel toiletries bag
- 3 Forge cable combination locks and a 1 foot double-looped cable
- External battery pack (13000 mAh)
- Bose QC-25 noise-cancelling headphones
- 1 full-face motorcycle helmet with GoPro attachment
Over the course of the trip, I bought more stuff:
- 1 knockoff Nike shorts (bought in Vietnam)
- 1 custom-tailored blazer (bought in Vietnam)
- 2 cotton shirts (bought in Thailand)
If you are not sure what to bring, don't worry, they sell cheap clothing for whatever needs. Vietnam has the best quality, knockoff stuff. I seriously regret bringing all my clothes. Next time, I am going to Vietnam with 1 pair of clothes and do some shopping when I arrive. Most of the time in Asia, I wore my basketball jersey, sandals and shorts. My rule is that if it doesn’t smell, I will re-wear it. But I always switched out underwear. So I would suggest bringing like 6-7 pairs of underwear. And 3 shirts and 3 shorts.
Please wear deodorant!!!!!! Some fucking people are disgusting, especially those “hippy, dreadlock” types; they don’t use soap and deodorant and it stinks up the room. I understand it is a lifestyle choice but damn, consider the people around you who are on their vacation and have to put up with this stuff. Please keep up some hygiene.
I am a 6'1" (1.85 m for my non-American friends) male with light brown complexion. I felt safe most of my time there. A lot of locals assumed I was Thai, Laotian, Vietnamese, or Cambodian. I think Southeast Asia was the safest part of the world that I ever visited. I never felt like I was in any danger. Just avoid the bad areas and stick to the tourist trail and you’ll be fine.
If you are planning to drive a motorbike, please please please wear closed-toed shoes. Don’t be a dumbass and only wear sandals. Those idiots are the ones who usually get in an accident. Just because the locals do it, it doesn’t mean you should do it too. Locals know how to operate a motorbike properly. And please wear a helmet. I brought my own helmet from back home (it’s not necessary).
If you going to trek in the jungles or such, wear long-sleeves and long pants. Don't leave any body part exposed. Mosquitos will bite the shit out of you. Worse, you can get Dengue Fever or Malaria. You should probably drench your skin with mosquito repellant too. Don't worry about little treks through forests; mosquito repellant will get the job done by itself.
If you're planning to buy a motorcycle stay away from cheap Honda Win
copies. I crashed on a Honda Win copy. As much as I hate to part blame, a reason I crashed was because of the bike. It had shitty brakes and suspension. If you are going to buy a bike, get a Honda Wave or Honda Click.
You can purchase a bike through Facebook Marketplace. Or you can rent. I heard Tigit Motorbikes in Hanoi or Saigon does good business.
Usually a lot of small towns rent out motorbikes to tourists for $5-$8 a day. Like I said above, rent a Honda Wave or Honda Click
. They usually rent out Yamahas that are similar to those bikes; those are fine too. Get an automatic scooter if you're not experienced. PLEASE WEAR CLOSED TOE SHOES!
Please take pictures of the bike from every angle you can think of before taking off to avoid getting scammed. Also, test the bike too. Make sure the wheel alignment is straight and check if the lights are working.
If you're only renting for a day, fill it up with only 2 liters because they'll keep the gas regardless if you paid for it.
VietnamCoracle.com is an excellent resource if you want to bike in Vietnam.
I will put a star (*) next to the city if I really loved it. I will put a star (*) next to the hostel if I really loved it. I will list the accommodation first. If I mention restaurants or food stalls, this is because I HIGHLY recommend it.
*Bangkok (4 days): *Jam Hostel, Wat Pho
, Wat Saket Ratchawora, Chinatown, Grand China Hotel rooftop bar (free), Khao San Road, Khlom Lat Mayom Floating Market, Muay Thai (free), Jeng Noodle Thai Food (a sweet lady fed me a bunch of times), Jok Pochana (delicious noodle soups and other thai dishes)
Took a flight from Bangkok (Don Mueang) to Chiang Mai → Nok Air ($44)
Chiang Mai (2 days): The Islander Hostel, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Pha Lat Temple, Monk’s Trail hike, Chiang Mai Elephant Home
Took a 2-hour mini-van from Chiang Mai to Pai (booked through hostel)
*Pai (3 days): *Nolo Hub Pai Hostel, rented a motorbike, Chedi Phra That Mae Yen (Big White Buddha), Pai Canyon, Pai Land Split, Bamboo Bridge, Pai Historical Bridge
Took a 2-hour mini-van back to Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai (1 day): Jeune Hostel, Sunday Night Market
Took a bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai
Chiang Rai (2 days): Bed & Bike Poshtel, White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), Charlermchai Kositpipat Museum, Night Market, Cat ‘n’ A Cup Cafe, Por Jai restaurant (best Khao Soi Chicken soup i’ve ever tried)
Took a public bus from Chiang Rai to Chiang Khong
Chiang Khong (1 day): Sleeping Well Hostel, Rin Bar (karaoke and bartender hooked me up with free shots)
Bought a slow boat package at my hostel. Hostel took me to the border of Thailand. Bus took me across the border to Laos. A pickup truck took me to the pier of the Mekong Delta. Boarded the slow boat to Luang Prabang. It is a 2-day boat. It stops mid-way and docks in a small village called Pak Beng for a night. I stayed at DP Guesthouse but you can find cheaper accommodation when you arrive.
Luang Prabang (3 days): Sunrise Hostel, Phousi Hill, Kuang Si waterfall, night market
Took a mini-van from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng (2 days): Vang Vieng Rock Backpacker Hostel, rented a motorbike, Kaeng Nyui waterfall, Blue Lagoon 3, small night market.
Took a bus to Vientiane
Vientiane (1 day): Barn1920s Hostel, night market
FUCK YEAH!! VIETNAM!!! Took a flight from Vientiane to Hanoi → Vietnam Airlines ($108) (please make sure to get a visa approval letter before flying; some airlines won’t let you board without proof)
*Hanoi (4 days): *Old Quarter View Hostel, free walking tour with hostel, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Vietnam Military History Museum, Hoa Lo Prison Memorial, bought a motorbike, Cafe Giang (delicious egg coffee), Bun Cha Nem Ran (tasty bun cha), Banh Mi 25 (fresh banh mi)
Took a night train with my motorbike from Hanoi to Lao Cai → \~$25 Drove my motorbike from Lao Cai to Sa Pa
*Sa Pa (3 days): *Ta Van Hostel, trekking with Hmong villager (booked through hostel), hiking
Drove my motorbike from Sa Pa to Ha Giang
*Ha Giang [Ha Giang Loop] (6 days): Ha Giang 1 Hostel / *Homestay Bongbang / *Little Yen’s Homestay / Backpacker Garden Homestay / Bong Ha Giang Hostel, Lung Cu Flag Point, Ma Pi Leng Viewpoint, got food poisoning, crashed on my motorbike (if you want footage, ask)
Drove my motorbike from Ha Giang to Hanoi in 8 hours
*Hanoi (2 days): *Old Quarter View Hostel, Hoan Kiem Lake, sold motorbike
Took mini-van from Hanoi to Ninh Binh
*Ninh Binh (4 days): *Trang An River View Homestay
, Hoa Lu Ancient Capital, Cuc Phoung National Park, Hang Mua Viewpoint, rented motorbike, rented bicycle
Took a sleeper train from Ninh Binh to Hue ($25)
Hue (1 day): Happy Homestay (it was so fucking hot in this city, i didn’t do anything)
Did a 2-day easy rider through the Ho Chi Minh Trail
*Hoi An (5 days): *Leo Leo ‘Cucumber’ Hostel, walked the Old Town, went to the beach, custom tailored blazer at Babi Cloth Shop, got stuck in a typhoon, accidentally smoked Opium, Hong restaurant (18 Thai Phien; try everything on that menu), the BANH MI QUEEN (best banh mi in all of Vietnam), Well Coffee (try the Cao Lau), Pho Tung (the best Pho I tried in Vietnam); Hoi An was the best for food
Took a sleepenight bus to Dalat \~$12?
*Dalat (2 days): *Tigon Hostel, rented a motorbike, Elephant Waterfall, night market, trekking
Took a day bus to Saigon \~$10?
*Saigon (4 days): Himalaya Phoenix Hostel aka ‘the Old Folks home’ haha, War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, Ben Thanh Market, Thich Quang Duc Monument, Nguyen Hue Street, Banh Canh Cua 194 (seafood soup), Bun Thit Nuong Kieu Bao (please go here, one of the best meals I had in Vietnam)
Took flight to Singapore → Vietjet Air ($47)
*Singapore (3 days): RedDoorz Hostel, Gardens By the Bay light show, Spectra water and light show, Helix Bridge
, Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Parkview Square + free museum, Changi Airport Jewel waterfall, Ah Heng Curry Chicken Bee Hoon Mee (one of the best soups I had in Southeast Asia)
Took flight to Phnom Penh ($82)
Phnom Penh (1 day): *The Big Easy Hostel, Water Festival (Bon Om Touk), Happy Herb Pizza (bought a big ol’ bag of weed). duddddeeeee tooo many sexpats in that city, fucckkkkk it creeped me out
Took a bus to Kampot ~$10
Kampot (5 days): *Karma Traders Hostel (420 Friendly), rented a motorbike
Took a bus to Phnom Penh \~$6
Phnom Penh (1 day): *Big Easy Hostel, Tuol Sleng (S21 Prison) Museum, Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (aka the Killing Fields)
Took a bus to Siem Reap \~$8
*Siem Reap (5 days): *Cozy Cloud Hostel, Angkor Wat (Small Circuit: Sunrise at Angkor Wat
, Ta Promh, Ta Nei, Ta Keo, Victory Gate, Bayon, South Gate)
Took a bus to Bangkok $10 (book with Capitol Tours directly to get that deal; some other people paid $25 for the same ride I got)
*Bangkok (4 days): *Back Home Backpackers Hostel, Giant Swing, Wat Suthat Thepwararam, Wat Arun Ratchawararam
, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, The Exile Bar (live music venue, free, Metal night), Muay Thai
Took night bus to Phuket (booked thru 12go.asia), ~$24)
*Old Town Phuket (2 days): The Neighbors Hostel, walked the old town, rented a motorbike (please rent one if you’re going to Phuket, it will save you a lot of money), Ao Yon Beach, Monkey Hill viewpoint, Rang Hill viewpoint, Khun Jeed Yod Pak restaurant (gravy noodles), Roti Abdul Phuket Muslim (cheap delicious roti breakfast), Pad Thai Pra Tu Mhee (probably the best pad thai I tried in all of Thailand)
Drove my rented motorbike to Kata Beach
Kata Beach, Phuket (2 days): *Sleepy Station Hostel, Big Buddha viewpoint, Kata beach, got detained by Thai police for possession
Drove my rented motorbike to Old Town Phuket
*Old Town Phuket (2 days): *Beehive Hostel, sunday night market, played basketball with the locals
Booked a ferry to Koh Lanta \~$20
*Koh Lanta (11 days): *Asleep Hostel, rented a motorbike (rent a motorbike to save money on transportation), Long Beach, Ao Nui Bay beach, Khlong Chak waterfall, Nui Beach, Khlong Khong beach, night market, dropped acid, ate all my meals at Jit Jit Restaurant (shoutout to the lady in charge, delicious affordable food)
Booked mini-van from hostel to Krabi airport (bus ~$10, flight with Vietjet Air ~$32)
*Bangkok (2 days): *Back Home Backpackers Hostel, Undyink Tattoo (got a tattoo)
Flew home to Los Angeles...peace!
Thoughts and opinions: Thailand
- it has the most-developed tourist infrastructure in mainland Southeast Asia which makes it easy to travel. If I had to recommend a country to visit for someone leaving on their first solo trip to Asia, it would be Thailand. Thailand has a delicious food cuisine. What I took away from the culture wasn’t much. No offense to any Thai people out there reading this, but I felt Thailand only had Buddha and the King in terms of culture. But don’t get me wrong, I loved the temples in Thailand. The temples were really beautiful and it was very cool to learn about Buddhism. By the way, Thai police are terrible. They constantly harassed the locals and tourists which annoyed me. (I might be biased) I would visit Thailand again. Laos
- Laos was the poorest country of the five that I visited. But that didn’t seem to take away from the locals. The locals were friendly. What annoyed me was that there were a lot of drunk tourists in the major cities wreaking havoc. The road infrastructure was probably the worst but it didn’t stop me from getting from city to city. I felt like I missed out on the real Laos because I only stayed in the major cities. It’s really unfortunate that a majority of the country sits on a lot of bombs that were dropped during the Vietnam War. It makes it hard for the locals to farm and expand their territories. Overall, I wasn’t vibing with Laos; it just wasn’t for me. I was really looking forward to visiting Vietnam next so that distracted me as well. A lot of people I met throughout my travels seemed to enjoy Laos. Personally, I wouldn’t visit Laos again. Vietnam
- I LOVED VIETNAM! Never have I visited a country where I came in with high expectations and met my expectations. The food was amazing and cheap. The culture was so good and interesting. Vietnam had the best scenery and nature. Doing the Ha Giang Loop on my motorcycle alone was the highlight of the entire trip. I am really into 60s classic rock music, Vietnam War movies (Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Forrest Gump, etc.) and I watched the Vietnam War documentary by Ken Burns, and this added to my experience. You understand how the music of that time was written and how the war impacted the nation to this day. (MY OPINION: the dynamic of a “communist North” and a “capitalist South” really made for an interesting relationship. Under one rule, they are socialist country and it functions well). It was really interesting to see. If I had to go back to Asia and could only visit one country, I would visit Vietnam. I loved it so much that I am considering living there for a couple of months. I missed out on Cat Ba, Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha, Quy Nhon, and other cities, but it's all the more reason for me to return. I am definitely going back next year or soon. Singapore
- Man have you ever seen the movie “Crazy Rich Asians”? lol. I swear like I was an extra on that movie set. I never felt so out of place haha. I was the only one walking around in cheap backpacker clothing haha. But Singapore was really nice. The citizens do a great job keeping the country clean. There were so many shopping malls. I also enjoyed the mix of culture; it is truly a “world city.” It was quite expensive compared to the other Southeast Asian countries but I expected that. I definitely wouldn’t stay long for that reason. It would be best to visit if you know a local, but it is not a dealbreaker. The airport was outta this world! I would go to Singapore again. Cambodia
- Definitely the strangest country I ever visited. There were so many old sexpats, it was quite disgusting. I felt so terrible for the girls who were involved. You can very easily find weed at any of these “happy pizza” restaurants. Cambodia had the best western food in all of the countries I visited. The road infrastructure was very poor, on par with Laos. There was a lot of poverty, and it's tough to see. But the locals were the friendliest, happiest people I met on this trip. They are super proud of their crown jewel, Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat was amazing to visit. It should be listed as one of the wonders of the world in my opinion. I missed out on Battambang and Koh Rong Saleom. I would visit Cambodia again.
There you have it. AMA!!! I’m happy to share tips and experiences. Ask below for a quick response. Please PM me, no chat!
Edit 1: thanks for the gold!!!! this is my first lol
Edit 2: i have another post trip report on Colombia, just search my post history if interested
Edit 3: Added a "Motorcycle" section
Edit 4: Added pictures
Edit 5: I put a star next to the hostel if I really liked it